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Open Spirit's
Advisory Committee

Shaheen Akhtar

Shaheen is a member of the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland. She has a deep commitment to interfaith dialogue and speaks at churches, synagogues, and other community organizations about the richness and depth of her own Islamic tradition.

Rabbi Katy Allen

Rabbi Katy is the founder and spiritual leader of Ma'yan Tikvah - A Wellspring of Hope, which holds outdoor services all year long. For ten years, Rabbi Katy, a board certified chaplain, served as chaplain at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. In 2015, she founded the One Earth Collaborative, a project of Open Spirit, which seeks to foster community through shared connection to the Earth. She writes about matters of the spirit and world, is a member of the Advisory Boards of and Shomrei Bereshit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth, on the board of Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries, and co-convener and the President of the Boston-area Jewish Climate Action Network.

Rabbi Laurence Bazer

Rabbi Bazer is the Rabbi of Temple Beth Sholom, a conservative Jewish congregation in Framingham. In addition to his congregational work, for the past several years, Rabbi Bazer has served on the New England Regional Board of the Anti-Defamation League and on the Cardinal's Review Board of the Archdiocese of Boston. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, serving as the Kabul Base Cluster Command Chaplain and Theater Jewish Chaplain.

Helen Berman

Helen is the co-facilitator of the Prayer Shawl Knitters program at Open Spirit. Participants in this program create shawls as spiritual practice, reaching out to those in need of comfort and solace. Helen's past experience includes teaching children about animals, the outdoors and cooking through a Jewish Community Center.

George Burton

George has extensive experience in human resources and financial management. He has served as treasurer and board member for various non-profits and has managed a small business. He enjoys interfaith work and sharing Christian Science as a healing method available to everyone and is the Outreach Chair at First Church of Christ, Scientist.

Reverend Debbie Clark

Reverend Clark has been ordained in the UCC for 26 years and as pastor at the Edwards Church for 20 years. She is the founder of Open Spirit, serves on the Steering and Advisory  Committees and is the Interfaith Coordinator. 


Neela de Zoysa

Neela is a biologist and instructor who comes to Open Spirit with extensive experience relating to open space and nature conservation, having worked with such organizations as the NE Wildflower Society, Friends of the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge and Wildlife Services of Eastern Mass.  Neela represents the Buddhist community. 


Nancy Gaulin

Dr. Gaulin is a clinical psychologist who has worked in hospital and outpatient settings, as well as community mental health and school settings. She currently works as a staff clinician at McLean Hospital. She also is the Interim Executive Director of Facing Cancer Together, a nonprofit that provides services in the greater Boston community to people who face a diagnosis of cancer. Prior to entering the field of psychology, Nancy pursued a 20-year career in business in the financial services sector. 


Sandra Hewitt

Sandy is on the Steering and Advisory Committees. Her career has been in healthcare, with clinical background as a physical therapist and later a hospital administrator and consultant. As a management consultant for Spaulding Rehab, she started up inpatient and outpatient rehab centers, and was on the consulting team that planned and developed Spaulding's Rehab Hospital on the Cape. She has worked in outpatient centers, academic medical centers and non-profit clinical environments. Throughout her career she has had a strong interest in integrating Eastern and Western medicine, having had this interest strengthened by her trips to India. 

Rosanne Kates

Rosanne is the Coordinator of Community Connection and serves on the Steering and Advisory Committees. Having an extensive background in the field of education, Rosanne leads the Nourishing Teachers/Strengthening Classrooms Project for Open Spirit. This is a community outreach program that supports both teachers and students in mindfulness practice and mind/body awareness. Rosanne has experience as a classroom teacher, literacy specialist, and an adjunct faculty member of Framingham State University. She has also served as aboard member of the Massachusetts Reading Association, where she developed the Teachers as Writers Project.

Bette Norton

Bette is a retired preschool teacher who is Open Spirit's Liaison with Edwards Church, of which she has been a long time member. She serves on both the Steering and Advisory Committees. Bette's personal mission is to educate community members on the benefits of tai chi and yoga as healing practices. She believes that they are an important adjunct for helping individuals with physical challenges and disabilities. 

Father Don Pachuta

Father Don brings a unique blend to Open Spirit as a physician, scripture scholar, and a priest. As a university professor he taught an organizing system of medicine to an entire generation of students; studied Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture; and was an early pioneer in the use of guided imagery and prayer in healing;  and the relationship of body/mind/emotion/spirit in health and illness. Father Don conducts day long healing and scripture workshops in Catholic and Protestant Churches. Currently he serves as the pastor of the ECC Community of Saint Luke, Framingham, MA and as a medical and spiritual consultant throughout the USA and abroad. He write a scripture reflection of the weekly readings that is distributed to a worldwide list of clergy and laity of many different religious traditions.

Danielle Rousseau

Dr. Rousseau is an Assistant Professor at Boston University and the Director of BU's Prison Education Program. She teaches courses in trauma, gender and justice, crime and delinquency, crime and mental health and research methods. She has worked in the field of forensic mental health as a therapist in correctional facilities, has established therapeutic programs for veterans and has traveled to Haiti to work with earthquake survivors.

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